Apartment block retrofit guidance

Europe-wide case studies and toolkits available

11 June 2015

Guides for the step-by-step retrofit of apartment buildings can now be downloaded from the Low Energy Apartment Futures (LEAF) website. These documents are outputs from the LEAF project, involving six European countries, that CSE is partner to. The technical toolkit is a guide to identifying the most appropriate energy saving improvements in mixed tenure blocks of flats. The ‘engagement toolkit’ is designed to be used in parallel, to guide residents, property owners and building managers through the retrofit process; it offers advice on project planning, engaging relevant stakeholders and the permissions required. Country specific versions of the toolkits are available for each of the collaborating nations.

The LEAF project involves each partner working with case study sites in their area, offering support and guidance in installing energy efficiency improvement measures, and an opportunity to test the toolkits. As part of the April partner meeting in Lyon, the LEAF team visited one of 24 case study buildings that have provided the basis for the toolkits. You can read more about this case study site on the LEAF project website.

This Europe-wide project has helped identify some of the key barriers to the retrofit process in multiple-occupancy, mixed tenure buildings. Vicki White, CSE’s lead on the project, has had firsthand experience of the challenges of installing energy efficiency measures in a block of flats in Bristol: “Progress has been frustratingly slow at times, not helped by the frequent changes in funding for measures over the last 18 months. When an opportunity does arise, there is then the challenge of getting all relevant parties together to agree the best way to proceed. Differences in personal circumstances within a block can present an insurmountable barrier. That said, we are doing everything we can to ensure the cavity wall installation will be installed, which would be a great success and huge benefit to residents.”

Like our experience in Bristol, partners in other countries have been experiencing a number of challenges, some unique to their own policy and regulatory climate. But with lots of effort, now, two years into the project, a number of the case studies are making good progress. In Edinburgh for example, external wall insulation is being fitted to a listed terrace block. As the project moves into its final year, partners will be undertaking evaluation work, including interviewing key stakeholders at each of the case study sites and disseminating, testing and seeking feedback on the technical and engagement toolkits that they have helped to produce.

Next week, the project will take to the stage at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in the Networking Village in Brussels, as part of EU Sustainable Energy Week.  This will provide an exciting platform to share some of the key findings and lessons as the project nears completion.

For up to date information on the case studies and to download the toolkits, please visit the LEAF website.

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